Stokes seeks counseling, probation

Man accused of shooting priest asks Keeler for help

May 28, 2002|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

A lawyer for Dontee D. Stokes, who is charged with shooting a Catholic priest he says sexually abused him, is asking Cardinal William H. Keeler to back his effort to get his client probation and counseling instead of prison time.

In a letter that will be delivered to Keeler at the Baltimore Archdiocese offices this morning, attorney Warren A. Brown explains his appeal to State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy not to send his client to prison and asks for Keeler's support.

Brown said last night that it would be unfair, given what he called Stokes' fragile emotional state and past suffering, to incarcerate his client, who is charged with attempted murder and handgun violations in the shooting May 13 of the Rev. Maurice J. Blackwell.

Rather, Brown said, Stokes needs psychiatric counseling to help him heal.

"Over the years, Dontee, like many other young boys who have been subjected to such cruel and unnatural impositions, had to cope with the ugly feelings that naturally accompany such victimization," said Brown, reading late last night from the letter he wrote and signed with Stokes' approval.

In exchange for allowing Stokes, 26, to avoid incarceration, Brown said, his client would "publicize his forgiveness of Maurice Blackwell's actions and the church's inactions toward him."

Blackwell, 56, a popular West Baltimore priest, was removed from active ministry in 1998 after acknowledging a sexual relationship years earlier with another minor.

Blackwell was briefly removed from St. Edward Catholic Church in 1993 after Stokes accused him of fondling him, but he was not criminally charged.

Stokes tested positive for marijuana last week while under home confinement at his aunt's residence.

Marijuana can stay in the body for as long as 30 days, and it is unclear when Stokes had last used the drug. A judge will decide what consequences Stokes might face.

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